If you're thinking about selling privately in Victoria, the first thing to consider is whether you have a right to sell your property without an agent. The answer is yes, you absolutely do. If you’re at all worried about this, you can confirm it with Consumer Affairs Victoria. With that out of the way, let’s discuss the steps to selling your own home in Victoria. Whilst reading these steps, keep in mind that, if you decide to sell with PropertyNow, we'll be there to help you every step of the way.
Step 1: Preparing the contract of sale:
Ensure you have your contract of sale drawn up by your solicitor or conveyancer before advertising your property for sale. They will also need to prepare a Vendor’s Statement (also known as a Section 32) which includes details of the property title, outstanding mortgages, covenants, easements, zoning, outgoings and declaration if located in a bushfire-prone area. You must sign this legal document, and if it is found to be inaccurate or incomplete the buyer can take legal action or back out of their purchase. In your contract specify if any chattels are to be excluded, such as pot plants or appliances. Dishwashers, rangehoods, curtains and blinds are generally included in the sale.
The Vendor’s Statement must be made available at all open for inspections, and given to the buyer before the property is sold.
If you are selling in an owners’ corporation, it is required that you provide an owners’ corporation certificate with related documents.
Step 2: Setting your price:
When you set your price ensure it does not misrepresent the property’s sale price, as that is illegal. The selling price should not be lower than an agent’s estimated price or the lowest amount you would accept. To research your price, you can:
- Request a free property valuation report online at PropertyNow.com.au, and if available you will also receive a free property suburb report for your postcode. Research similar sold properties and for sale properties online, e.g. at http://www.realestate.com.au , or http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/property-and-land/buying-a-home-or-property/researching-a-property/median-house-sales-by-quarter .
- Obtain a valuation from an independent property Valuer.
- Request a property valuation estimate or range from real estate agents.
Step 3: Open Homes and Private Inspections
Once your property is advertised you will likely need to allow buyers to inspect the property through open homes or private inspections. At this time (or on request), you must provide prospective buyers with a copy of the Due Diligence Checklist, available here: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing-and-accommodation/buying-and-selling-property/checklists/due-diligence .
Step 4: Receiving the offer:
Generally, offers are submitted in the way of a signed contract of sale. Only written offers can lead to a binding contract. Sometimes buyers may add an expiration clause to the sale contract so that the offer does not remain open indefinitely if the vendor has not signed by a certain date. Have your solicitor or conveyancer review any changes made by the buyer to the sales contract.
If someone makes you an offer on your property you may take a holding deposit of the full amount or a nominated partial amount. This should be held in your solicitor’s trust account or a trust account you’ve arranged through PropertyNow, to be returned if you do not accept the offer.
Step 5: Signing the contract of sale:
The next step in the legal process of selling a property in VIC is for you and the buyer to both sign the contract of sale. Once an offer is counter-signed by the vendor it becomes an enforceable contract of sale. All signatories must be given a copy.
From this point, you could consider marking your property as “Under Contract” on various websites, but you should still keep a record of any enquiries from other buyers in case the sale falls through.
Step 6: Exchange:
Exchange simply means that both you and the buyer have signed a copy of the contract of sale and have exchanged these with each other. Exchange doesn’t necessarily have to happen in person, it can also be done via mail or via a third party such as your conveyancer. Keep in mind that you and the buyer aren’t legally bound until all copies of the contract have been signed and exchanged.
Step 7: Cooling Off:
In VIC, the buyer of a residential or small rural property is entitled to a cooling off period of three business days (there are some exceptions). The cooling off period commences from when the buyer (not the vendor) signs the contract of sale. During this time, the buyer can cancel the sale. If the buyer cancels the sale in this period, they’ll forfeit the greater of $100 or 0.2 per cent of the sale price with any balance being refunded.
Be aware that an offer accepted within three full business days before or after an auction has no cooling-off period.
To withdraw from a sale, the buyer must complete a signed cooling-off notice and deliver it to the vendor or their authorised agent.
After the cooling-off period has ended, the balance of the deposit is payable by the buyer and should be held in trust until settlement occurs (e.g. 10% of the purchase price less holding deposit).
An important thing to keep in mind with regards to cooling off periods in VIC is that they only apply to the buyer, once you’ve exchanged contracts, you cannot simply cancel the sale as a seller.
Once the sale has cooled off or unconditionally exchanged, you can go ahead and mark it as sold on the websites.
Step 8: Settlement:
On signing the contract, you and the buyer will agree to a settlement date. Settlement is commonly 30 to 90 days after exchange but this can be varied if both parties agree. At settlement the buyer 'settles' their purchase by paying the purchase price, less their deposit. If you're using a solicitor, they may meet with the buyer’s solicitor to ensure they have everything needed for the sale to proceed.
With those steps out of the way it’s time to put your feet up and congratulate yourself on a job well done – you’ve just successfully sold your house without an agent. Hopefully we’ve demystified the sale process for you somewhat but if you’re still confused about anything leave us a comment below or get in touch with us at propertynow.com.au
Selling via Auction:
If there is high demand for your property you may prefer to sell it at auction. Ideally you should book your Auctioneer prior to listing your property, so that the date and time can be included in any advertising.
The Victorian auction rules and auction information statement must be on display at the auction for at least 30 minutes prior to the auction start time. Penalties apply for breaking these rules.
Once the reserve price is met or exceeded, then the property is sold. There is no cooling-off period for a property sold at auction (or within three days before or after) and the contract of sale is unconditional.
Settlement occurs in the same way as for a private treaty sale.